Pacific Rim

With the imminent release of Pacific Rim Uprising, I thought I would give the original film a rewatch. The film begins in 2013, Where deep beneath the the Pacific Ocean, a fissure opens up, which leads to another dimension. Through the fissure, giant monsters referred to as Kaiju appear, gradually more of these creatures begin to come through the fissure, attacking coastal cities arond the Pacific. The kaijus are all given different names like Trespasser, Scissure, Reckoner, Onibaba, Spinejackal, Bonesquid, Kojiyama, Hardship, Reckoner, Ceramander, Tentalus, Knifehead, Yamarashi, Mutavore, Leatherback, Otachi, Raiju, Scunner and Slattern.

To stop the invaders, Various countries Ally together to create TheJaeger Program: a series ofgiant mechanical Robots, intended to stop the ceatures. These Robots have names like Gypsy Danger, Cherno Alpha Striker Eureka and Crimson Typhoon. The Jaegers are piloted by two people each including Charlie Hunnam, Max Martini, Rob Kazinsky, and Rinko Kikuchi under the unwavering command of Idris Elba. To operate the Jaegers the pilots minds are linked together by “The Drift, ” which synchronizes their movements and enables them to operate the massive machines. At first The Jaegers are able to defeat the Kaiju, and take down the creatures. Pretty soon, the Jaegers and their pilots become celebrities.

Meanwhile the dead Kaiju soon become a valuable black-market commodity, their parts sold off for various collections and medicinal purposes. One such collector is Hannible Chau (Ron Perlman) a bootlegger in Kaiju corpses. But just as the battle seems to be turning, the Kaiju’s attacks become more brutal. One of the more famous Jaeger duos, Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam), and his older brother, Yancy (Diego Klattenhoff) Who Pilot a Jaeger named “Gypsy Danger,” are despatched to intercept a Kaiju heading towards Anchorage., Alaska. However the Kaiju severely damages the Jaeger and kills Yancy. Deeply Traumatised by the attack, Raleigh decides that he has had enough of the Jaeger program and leaves, to find work elesewhere.

Seven years later, Beckett is now working along the Western coast of the United States, helping build a giant wall that is meant to keep the Kaiju out. Meanwhile in the 7 years since Raleigh was with the Jaeger program, numerous countries have called for the Jaeger program to be terminated, assuming that building the walls will make them safe, however the head of the program Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), claims that the World’s Leaders are making a terrible mistake and says the program is still viable, even so the World Leaders remain unconvinced and it is relocated to Hong Kong, and given 8 months of funding, before being termimated.

Back on the West Coast, Raleigh sees a television report concerning a Kaiju which has broken through the wall surrounding Sydney Harbor in Australia and is intercepted by the Jaeger Striker Eureka. Thanks to his previous experience in the Jaeger Program Raleigh soon finds himself being flown to a secret Base (known as ‘The Shatterdome’). At the Shatterdome he meets Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), who tells Raleigh that she has studied how to be a Jaeger pilot, Pentecost also introduces Raleigh to two scientist named Dr Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day), an obsessive ‘Kaiju Fanboy,’ who studies the creatures through salvaged organs and other parts, and Dr Gottlieb (Burn Gorman), a more ‘practical’ man, who is using his mathematical skills to try and pinpoint the frequency of creatures coming through the ocean rift and predict when and where they will attack next.

The last remaining Jaegers and their crews are assembled Within the Shatterdome in a last desperate attempt to defeat the Kaiju. These are comprised of The Crimson Typhoon (from China), Cherno Alpha (from the Ukraine), Striker Eureka (fresh from its stint in Australia), and (to Raleigh’s surprise) Gypsy Danger. Raleigh requests that Mako help him co-pilot Gypsy Danger, but his request is refused by Pentecost, then Raleigh eventually discovers why Pentecost is reluctant to let Mako co-Pilot Gypsy Danger. Unfortunately though Kaiju attacks become more deadly and the situation becomes increasingly desperate so Pentecost reluctantly agrees to let Mako co-pilot Gypsy Danger . Meanwhile Professor Gottlieb discovers that the number of Kaiju coming up through the rift is increasing. Geiszler meanwhile, wonders if they can learn more about the Kaiju, if they are able to make a neural connection with its brain and “Drift with the Kaiju” to find out what their plans are. However making a neural connection with a Kaiju is extremely dangerous as the Kaiju can also read human minds and also learn what the humans are planning.

Geiszler then travels to Hong Kong to meet Hannibal Chau (Ron Perlman). However they are interrupted when two more Kaiju’s attack Hong Kong intent on clobbering Geiszler, so Pentecost sends out Cherno Alpha, Crimson Typhoon and Gypsy Danger to deal with them. As the Jaegers and Kaiju battle it out in Hong Kong Pentecost outlines an audacious and extremely hazardous plan which if successful could prevent any further Kaiju from coming through the fissure, or not, as the case may be….

Avatar

I have also recently watched James Cameron’s exciting epic science fiction film Avatar again. It stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore, Giovanni Ribisi, and Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in 2154, after humans have severely depleted Earth’s natural resources. So The Resources Development Administration (RDA) have begun mining for a valuable mineral – unobtanium – on Pandora, a densely forested habitable moon orbiting the gas giant Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri star system, the look of which may have been inspired by a Roger Dean painting. Unfortunately Pandora’s atmosphere is poisonous to humans, so To explore Pandora’s biosphere, scientists have developed Na’vi-human hybrids called “avatars”, operated by genetically matched humans.

However The expansion of the mining colony begins to threaten the peaceful existence of the local indigenous humanoid population Na’vi, who are 10-foot tall (3.0 m), blue-skinned, sapient humanoids who live in harmony with nature and worship a mother goddess called Eywa. So Jake Sully, a paraplegic former marine, is given the chance to operate an Avatar under Dr. Grace Augustine, head of the Avatar Program and liais with the Na’vi. Whilst out with the avatars of Grace and scientist Norm Spellman collecting biological data, Jake’s avatar is attacked and he is separated. He later encounters a native female named Neytiri who rescues him and takes him to her clan, whereupon Neytiri’s mother Mo’at, the clan’s spiritual leader, orders her daughter to initiate Jake into their society.

Colonel Miles Quaritch, head of RDA’s private security force, asks Jake to gather intelligence about the habits of the Na’vi and the clan’s gathering place, a giant arboreal called Hometree, which stands directly above a rich deposit of Unobtainium. When Grace learns of this, she transfers herself, Jake, and Norm to an outpost. Over three months, Jake grows to sympathize with the natives and is initiated into the tribe, where he and Neytiri choose each other as mates. Jake decides to switch sides and support the local Na’avi by disabling a bulldozer which is threatening to destroy a sacred Na’vi site.

Quaritch and the Administrator Parker Selfridge, learn of Jake’s change of allegiance so Selfridge orders Hometree destroyed. However Grace protests that destroying Hometree could damage the biological neural network native to Pandora. So Selfridge gives Jake and Grace one final chance to convince the Na’vi to evacuate before commencing the attack. While trying to warn the Na’avi, Jake and Grace are both taken hostage by the increasingly hostile Na’avi. Upon Seeing this, Quaritch’s men advance upon Hometree And Neytiri’s father (the clan chief) and many others end up being killed in the ensuing battle. Mo’at frees Jake and Grace, but they are imprisoned by Quaritch’s forces.

Meanwhile Pilot Trudy Chacón, is horrified by Quaritch’s brutality, and decides to help the Na’avi so she rescues Jake and Grace before taking them to the outpost, where Jake attempts to regain the Na’vi’s trust. By taming a ferocious dragon-like predator called a Turok which is both feared and honoured by the Na’vi. Sadly Grace is also wounded in the battle. Jake locates Neytiri, Mo’at and The new chief Tsu’tey with the other the refugees at the sacred Tree of Souls and convinces Tsu’tey to unite all the other clans against the RDA. Meanwhile, Quaritch organizes a pre-emptive strike against the Tree of Souls, believing that its destruction will demoralize the natives. During the subsequent battle, the Na’vi suffer heavy casualties, including Tsu’tey and Trudy; but are rescued by an unexpected turn of events. Jake Then attempts to stop the bomber reaching the Tree of Souls, and confronts Quaritch in an exciting climax

Terminator GeniSys

I have recently watched the exciting science-fiction film Terminator Genisys again. It starts In the year 2029, with humanity facing a desperate battle against millions of Self Aware Machines controlled by a artificially intelligent super computer system called Skynet which has decided it would be better off without the human race. Leading the fight against the machines is Human Resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) who launches a massive final offensive against Skynet in Los Angeles. Connor discovers that Skynet intends to attack on two fronts past and future. So Connor sets up two attack forces, one to strike at Skynet’s main defense grid, and a second one, led by John and lieutenant Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), to destroy Skynet’s main weapon, a secret time machine hidden at a remote storage facility.

However, Before the Resistance can reach the machine, Skynet sends a T-800 back in time to 1984 Los Angeles to kill John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) However another T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) appears to confront the original. Then Reese also goes back in time in order to protect Sarah from the Terminator and ensure John’s existence. Unfortunately He runs afoul of the T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun), which Skynet has sent back in time to kill him. The T-1000 kills two Police officers before Sarah arrives to save Kyle from the T-1000. Sarah and the T-800 Guardian teminator confront the T-1000, Then two Kyles approach Sarah, however one is a T-1000, in disguise.

Sarah then explains to Kyle that another T_800 was also sent to protect her from the T-1000 back in 1973, now Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Unfortunately the Terminator’s arrival caused a fractured timeline that differs from Kyle’s. Sarah and the Guardian then reveal they have constructed a makeshift time machine similar to Skynet’s, which Sarah plans to use to travel to 1997 to change the events that would lead to Skynet’s initial attack on humanity.

However, Kyle, convinced that the future has changed because of his new memories, persuades Sarah and the Guardian that they should travel to 2017 instead. He believes that Skynet will begin its attack on that year of the altered timeline; so Kyle and Sarah time-travel while their Guardian spends the next 33 years preparing for their arrival. Having arrived in San Francisco in 2017 Kyle and Sarah learn of a global operating system called “Genisys which is related to Cyberdyne and Skynet. Then John Connor appears and apparently rescues Sarah and Kyle, however “John” is in fact a T-3000 Terminator in disguise. So I Sarah, Kyle, and the Guardian confront the T-3000 Terminator. They then set off try to destroy Cyberdyne’s Genisys mainframe before it comes online with the T-3000 in hot pursuit, in an exciting final showdown near the Golden Gate Bridge

John Delorean

Best known for producing the ill-fated Delorean DMC 12 Sports car, American Car Manufacturer John DeLorean sadly passed away on 19th March 2005. Production of the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 sports car began in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland in 1981. The DeLorean DMC-12 was manufactured by the DeLorean Motor Company for the American market in 1981-82. Featuring gull-wing doors with a fiberglass underbody, to which non-structural brushed stainless steel panels are affixed, the car became iconic for the appearance of a modified version as a time machine in the Back to the Future film trilogy.

The first prototype appeared in October 1976, and production officially began in 1981 in Dunmurry, a suburb of south west Belfast, Northern Ireland. During its production, several features of the car were changed, such as the hood style, wheels and interior. In October 1976, the first prototype DeLorean DMC-12 was completed by William T. Collins, chief engineer and designer (formerly chief engineer at Pontiac). The body design of the DMC-12 was a product of Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design and the car was Originally, intended to have a centrally-mounted Citroën/NSU Comotor Wankel rotary engine. The engine selection was reconsidered when Comotor production ended, and the favored engine became Ford’s “Clogne V6.” Eventually the French/Swedish PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) fuel injected V6, was selected. Also the engine location moved from the mid-engined location in the prototype to a rear-engined installation in the production car.

The chassis was initially planned to be produced from a new and untested manufacturing technology known as Elastic Reservoir Moulding (ERM), which would lighten the car while presumably lowering its production costs. However This new technology, for which DeLorean had purchased patent rights, was eventually found to be unsuitable. So Engineering was turned over to engineer Colin Chapman, founder and owner of Lotus. Chapman replaced most of the unproven material and manufacturing techniques with those then employed by Lotus. The backbone chassis is very similar to that of the Lotus Esprit. The original Giorgetto Giugiaro body design was left mostly intact, as were the distinctive stainless steel outer skin panels and gull-wing doors. DeLorean required $175 million to develop and build the motor company. DeLorean eventually built the DMC-12 in a factory in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, a neighborhood a few miles from Belfast city center. Construction on the factory began in October 1978, and although production of the DMC-12 was scheduled to start in 1979, engineering problems and budget overruns delayed production until early 1981.

Hollywood celebrities such as Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr also invested in the firm and The DMC-12 also appears in the Back to the Future film trilogy. The PRV engines of the cars were dubbed over with recorded V8 sounds. Six DeLorean chassis were used during the production, along with one manufactured out of fiberglass for scenes where a full-size DeLorean was needed to “fly” on-screen; only three of the cars still exist, with one having been destroyed at the end of Back to the Future Part III. Universal Studios owns two of the remaining cars, and the last resides in a private collection after having been extensively restored.

Sadly though all this endorsement was not enough to save the company and The DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt in late 1982 following John DeLorean’s arrest in October of that year on drug trafficking charges. He was later found not guilty, but it was too late for the DMC-12 to remain in production. and the company went into liquidation. Approximately 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production halted in late 1982 and about 100 partially assembled DMCs on the production line were completed by Consolidated International (now known as Big Lots). Overall just 9,200 DMC-12s were produced between January 1981 and December 1982 Almost a fifth of these were produced in October 1981. As of 2007, about 6,500 DeLorean Motor cars were believed to still exist. In 1995 Texas entrepreneur Stephen Wynne started a separate company using the “DeLorean Motor Company” name and shortly thereafter acquired the trademark on the stylized “DMC” logo as well as the remaining parts inventory of the original DeLorean Motor Company.

Ricky Wilson (B-52’s)

Ricky Wilson, the former guitarist withThe B-52’s was born 19 March 1953. The B-52s were formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976. The original line-up consisted of Fred Schneider(vocals, percussion, keyboards), Kate Pierson (organ, bass, vocals), Cindy Wilson(vocals, bongos, tambourine, guitar), Ricky Wilson (guitars), and Keith Strickland(drums, guitars, synthesizers, various instruments) and cowbell player, poet and vocalist Fred Schneider played an impromptu musical jam session after sharing a tropical Flaming Volcano drink at a local Athens Chinese restaurant. Other ideas they had to name their band were the “Tina-Trons” and “Felini’s Children”. When they first jammed, Strickland played guitar and Wilson played congas. They later played their first concert (with Wilson playing guitar) in 1977 at a Valentine’s Day party for their friends.

The band’s name comes from a particular beehive hairdo resembling the nose cone of the aircraft of the same name. Keith Strickland suggested the name after a dream he had had one night, of a band performing in a hotel lounge. In the dream he heard someone whisper in his ear that the name of the band was “the B-52s.” The band’s quirky take on the new wave sound of their era was a combination of dance and surf music set apart from their contemporaries by the unusual guitar tunings used by Ricky Wilson and thrift-store chic. Their first single, “Rock Lobster”, recorded in 1978, was an underground success, which led to the B-52’s performing at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City in New York City. A rerecorded version of Rock Lobster was released as a single. In the UK and Germany it was backed with Running Around (Instrumental), which appeared on their second album Wild Planet. The buzz created by the record in the UK meant their first show in London at the Electric Ballroom, London, was packed in anticipation, with many UK pop stars such as Sandie Shaw, Green Gartside from Scritti Politti, Joe Jackson, and others in attendance. In Canada, released on the Warner Bros. label, the single went from cult hit to bona fide smash, eventually going on to reach the No. 1 position in the RPM-compiled national chart on May 24, 1980.

In 1979 The B-52’s signed contracts with Warner Bros. Records for North America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand; and with Island Records for the UK, Europe, and Asia. Chris Blackwell, founder of Island, produced their debut studio album. Recorded at Blackwell’s Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas, and released on July 6, 1979, The B-52’s contained re-recorded versions of “Rock Lobster” and “52 Girls”, six originals recorded solely for the album, and a remake of the Petula Clark single “Downtown”. According to the band interview on the DVD With the Wild Crowd! Live in Athens, GA, the band was surprised by Blackwell’s recording methods; he wanted to keep the sound as close as possible to their actual live sound so used almost no overdubs or additional effects. The album was a major success for the band, especially in Australia where it reached number three on the charts alongside its three singles “Planet Claire”, “Rock Lobster”, and “Dance This Mess Around”. In the United States, the single “Rock Lobster” reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while the album itself was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The follow-up, Wild Planet, reached number eighteen on the Billboard 200 chart in 1980 and was certified gold. “Private Idaho” became their second Hot 100 entry. On January 26, 1980, The B-52’s performed on Saturday Night Live. They also performed at the Heatwave festival (billed as the “New Wave Woodstock”) in Toronto, Canada in August 1980; and appeared in the Paul Simon film One Trick Pony. Their third release was a remix of tracks from their first two studio albums. Party Mix! took six tracks from the first two LPs and presented them in extended forms. John Lennon cited “Rock Lobster” as an inspiration for his comeback. In 1981 the band collaborated with musician David Byrne to produce a third full-length studio album. Due to alleged conflicts with Byrne over the album’s musical direction recording sessions for the album were aborted, prompting the band to release Mesopotamia (1982) as an extended play (EP), in 1991, Party Mix! and Mesopotamia, the latter of which had been remixed, were combined and released together on a single compact disc. In 1983 the band released their fourth album Whammy!; this album brought the band into synthesizer and drum machine experimentation. The album entered the Billboard 200 chart in 1983, reaching number twenty-nine during the year. “Legal Tender” reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Singles chart alongside “Whammy Kiss” and “Song for a Future Generation”. After initial pressings of Whammy! were released, copyright issues with Yoko Ono led to the song “Don’t Worry” being removed and replaced on future pressings by “Moon 83″, a remixed version of the track “There’s a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)” from their debut album.

After taking a one year absence from their musical careers in 1984 The B-52’s regrouped in 1985 to record Bouncing off the Satellites, their fifth studio record, and in January of that year they performed in Brazil, at Rock in Rio; their largest crowd ever. During the recording, guitarist Wilson had been suffering from AIDS/HIV-related health complications. None of the other band members were aware of his illness. In an interview, fellow band member Kate Pierson stated that Wilson had kept his illness secret from his fellow band members because he “did not want anyone to worry about him or fuss about him.” Tragically On October 12, 1985 Ricky Wilson died from the illness, at the age of 32. With Cindy Wilson devastated by her brother’s death, and her bandmates too being depressed about Ricky’s passing, the band went into seclusion and did not tour to promote their album nor the group, prompting a hiatus from their musical careers. In 1987 they released a public service announcement in the style of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover on behalf of AMFAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research).

Following Ricky Wilson’s death in 1985 Strickland switched full-time to guitar. The band subsequently added various musicians for their live shows. This included Sara Lee or Tracy Wormworth on (bass),Zachary Alford or Sterling Campbell on (drums, percussion) and Pat Irwin or Paul Gordon (keyboards & guitars).Rooted in new wave and 1960s rock and roll, the group later covered many genresranging from post-punk to pop rock. The “guy vs. gals” vocals of Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson, sometimes used in call and response style (“Strobe Light,” “Private Idaho”, and “Good Stuff”), are a trademark. Presenting themselves as a positive, fun, enthusiastic, slightly oddball and goofy party band, the B-52’s tell tall tales, glorify wild youth and celebrate sexy romance.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Prolific Adventure & Science Fiction Novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs sadly passed away on March 19, 1950 after suffering a Heart Attack. He wrote almost seventy novels during his career and created many popular enduring characters but he is perhaps best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter.

Edgar Rice Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875, in Chicago, Illinois (he later lived for many years in the suburb of Oak Park). he was educated at a number of local schools, and during the Chicago influenza epidemic in 1891, he spent a half year at his brother’s ranch on the Raft River in Idaho. He then attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and then the Michigan Military Academy. Graduating in 1895, and failing the entrance exam for the United States Military Academy (West Point), he ended up as an enlisted soldier with the 7th U.S. Cavalry in Fort Grant, Arizona Territory. After being diagnosed with a heart problem and thus ineligible to serve, he was discharged in 1897. Some drifting and ranch work followed in Idaho. Then, Burroughs found work at his father’s firm in 1899. He married childhood sweetheart Emma Hulbert (1876-1944) in January 1900. In 1904 he left his job and found less regular work; some in Idaho, later in Chicago.By 1911, after seven years of low wages, he was working as a pencil sharpener wholesaler and began to write fiction. By this time, Burroughs and Emma had two children, Joan (1908–72), who would later marry Tarzan film actor James Pierce, and Hulbert (1909–91).During this period, he had copious spare time and he began reading many pulp fiction magazines. In 1929 he recalled thinking that …if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines, that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines.

So he wrote The exciting science-fiction exploits of Barsoom which debuted in 1912 and featured a Confederate American Civil War veteren from Virginia named John Carter, who inexplicably finds himself transported to the planet Mars and discovers that far from being dead, Mars, which is known as “Barsoom” by the locals) is actually inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians called Tharks, Intelligent & scientifically minded red skinned people from the neighbouring City of Helium, villainous Warlords, Pirates, Giant White Apes and vicious thugs named Warhoons. Carter discovers that the land is in turmoil and the various inhabitants are at war with each other over th planets dwindling resources and the situation is being manipulated by shadowy forces. So he undertakes a perilous journey across Barsoom, encountering many dangers along the way, in order to unite the population against a common enemy and fairly soon he finds himself in the midst of all-out war between the forces of civilization on Mars and those of destruction and the outcome will determine the fate of everyone on Barsoom.

Burroughs also produced works in many other genres including The Land That Time Forgot (1918),and had his first story, “Under the Moons of Mars”, serialized in All-Story Magazine in 1912. Burroughs soon took up writing full-time and by the time the run of Under the Moons of Mars had finished he had completed two novels, including Tarzan of the Apes, which was published from October 1912 and which went on to become one of his most successful series. Burroughs also wrote popular science fiction and fantasy stories involving Earthly adventurers transported to various planets (notably Barsoom, Burroughs’ fictional name for Mars, and Amtor, his fictional name for Venus), lost islands, and into the interior of the hollow earth in his Pellucidar stories, as well as westerns and historical romances. Along with All-Story, many of his stories were published in The Argosy. Many of his novels have also been adapted from film including Tarzan of the Apes, Land that time Forgot and John Carter (which was made by Disney but did not do as well as I thought it would for some reason, I still think it is possible to do an Epic Barsoom series of films

Thanks to the enduring popularity of the Barsoom and Tarzan series of novels Burroughs set up his own company, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc In 1923 and began printing his own books throughout the 1930s.Then In 1941 At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Burroughs was a resident of Hawaii and, despite being in his late sixties, he applied for permission to become a war correspondent. This permission was granted, and so he became one of the oldest war correspondents for the U.S. during World War II. After the war ended, Burroughs moved back to Encino, California, where, after many health problems, he died of a heart attack on March 19, 1950, having written almost 80 novels.

Arthur C.Clarke CBE FRAS Sri Lankabhimanya

British science fiction author, inventor Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS, Sri Lankabhimanya, sadly passed awa on 19th March 2008, born 16 December 1917. He was famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Profiles of the Future, Rendezvous with Rama and The Fountains of Paradise. He was also a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Clarke were known as the “Big Three” of science fiction. Clarke served in the Royal Air Force as a radar instructor and technician from 1941 to 1946. In 1945, he proposed a satellite communication system—an idea that, in 1963, won him the Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Gold Medal. He was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1947–1950 and again in 1953.

Between 1937 and 1945, Clarke had a few stories published in fanzines, his first professional sale appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1946: “Loophole” was published in April, while “Rescue Party”, his first sale, was published in May. Along with his writing Clarke briefly worked as Assistant Editor of Science Abstracts (1949) before devoting himself to writing full-time from 1951 onward. Clarke also contributed to the Dan Dare series published in Eagle, and his first three published novels were written for children.Clarke corresponded with C. S. Lewis in the 1940s and 1950s and they once met in an Oxford pub, The Eastgate, to discuss science fiction and space travel. Clarke, after Lewis’s death, voiced great praise for him, saying the Ransom Trilogy was one of the few works of science fiction that could be considered literature. In 1948 he wrote “The Sentinel” for a BBC competition. Though the story was rejected, it changed the course of Clarke’s career. Not only was it the basis for 2001: A Space Odyssey, but “The Sentinel” also introduced a more cosmic element to Clarke’s work. Many of Clarke’s later works feature a technologically advanced but still-prejudiced mankind being confronted by a superior alien intelligence. In the cases of The City and the Stars (and its original version, Against the Fall of Night), Childhood’s End, and the 2001 series, this encounter produces a conceptual breakthrough that accelerates humanity into the next stage of its evolution. In Clarke’s authorised biography, Neil McAleer writes that: “many readers and critics still consider Childhood’s End Arthur C. Clarke’s best novel.”

Clarke lived in Sri Lanka from 1956 until his death, having emigrated there when it was still called Ceylon, first in Unawatuna on the south coast, and then in Colombo. The Sri Lankan government offered Clarke resident guest status in 1975. He was an avid scuba diver and a member of the Underwater Explorers Club. In addition to writing, Clarke set up several diving-related ventures with his business partner Mike Wilson. In 1956, while scuba diving in Trincomalee, Wilson and Clarke uncovered ruined masonry, architecture and idol images of the sunken original Koneswaram temple — including carved columns with flower insignias, and stones in the form of elephant heads — spread on the shallow surrounding seabed. Other discoveries included Chola bronzes from the original shrine, and these discoveries were described in Clarke’s 1957 book The Reefs of Taprobane. In 1961, while filming off Great Basses Reef, Wilson found a wreck and retrieved silver coins. Plans to dive on the wreck the following year were stopped when Clarke developed paralysis, ultimately diagnosed as polio. A year later, Clarke observed the salvage from the shore and the surface. The ship, ultimately identified as belonging to the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, yielded fused bags of silver rupees, cannons, and other artefacts, carefully documented, became the basis for The Treasure of the Great Reef. Living in Sri Lanka and learning its history also inspired the backdrop for his novel The Fountains of Paradise in which he described a space elevator. This, he believed, would make rocket based access to space obsolete and, more than geostationary satellites, would ultimately be his scientific legacy.

His many predictions culminated in 1958 when he began a series of magazine essays that eventually became Profiles of the Future, published in book form in 1962. A timetable up to the year 2100 describes inventions and ideas including such things as a “global library” for 2005. The same work also contained “Clarke’s First Law” and text that became Clarke’s three laws in later editions. Clarke Sadly passed away on 19th March 2008 in Sri Lanka. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 & was awarded Sri Lanka’s highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.